Developers propose building for downtown Eagle
EAGLE, Colorado – It’s long been a central question for Eagle, but with the national recession of the past two years, it has been a while since anyone asked it.
How, or does, growth pay for its way?
Tuesday night, members of the Eagle Town Board found themselves facing that familiar query as they considered a development permit for a new downtown building.
Developers Joe Frasco and Les Samelson presented plans for a 12,000-square-foot, mixed use building at the corner of Wall Street and Third Avenue. The building would feature commercial space on the street level and residential or office uses on the second floor. Frasco pointed to two other buildings he has developed downtown – one at 404 Broadway that houses a dentist office, construction office and hair saloon, and one at 330 Broadway that houses a clothing store, coffee shop, hair salon and assorted offices – saying the new project will resemble those buildings.
But a stumbling block for the new building is the aging water lines on Wall Street. The current lines are insufficient even for current use and cannot support the larger building. Town Engineer Tom Gosiorowski noted the lines are scheduled for replacement, but the project is one of many the town’s limited capital improvements fund has to tackle.
“As the town, we have the obligation at some point to upgrade that water line. This project has been on a long list of old water lines in the downtown that need to be replaced,” he said.
Gosiorowski presented two alternatives for the project – a $420,000 fix that would replace the lines extending from Fourth Street to Second Street and a fix that would address the entire water line issue around Wall Street that would cost around $800,000.
Frasco argued that the town needs to step up and fix the lines and the road. “You got 60 years out of that street. It needs to be replaced,” he said. “Now is the perfect time to do it.”
Frasco said his project is important because Eagle desperately needs some construction jobs right now. He estimated 32 people could be employed working to construct his building and another 30-plus would be employed in businesses that would open in it.
“I am in favor of the project, the issue is the water line,” said town board member Kraige Kinney.
“I support the project, too, it’s just about who pays for the water,” said town board member Scott Turnipseed. “This isn’t the only proposal in the downtown or west Eagle area that is going to get redeveloped.”
The town is looking at a large scale development plan for west Eagle and aging infrastructure in that area is a cost concern at a time when Eagle needs to be saving money. At the end of 2011, the town estimates there will be in excess of $5 million in its water fund. Eagle Town Manager Willy Powell noted that the Wall Street water line could be financed through a combination of capital funds, street improvement funds and water funds. But the town’s future needs have its leaders feeling squeamish about dipping into the water money.